The initiative will stop in 15 Italian cities involving over 4,500 lower secondary school students
Huawei e Words O_Styles today announced the launch of the project”SmartBus”, an initiative that will offer free training sessions to middle school students with the aim of stimulating an adequate level of personal awareness on the subject of Internet security and the opportunities and risks associated with the use of digital tools.
The SmartBus is amobile interactive classroom equipped with digital devices that will stop in 15 cities in 5 Italian regions involving over 4,500 male and female students who will be able to take part in training sessions through the special educational APP entirely developed by Parole O_Stili for the project. Tutors will be present on SmartBus who will have the task of creating an engaging, interactive and fun learning environment, useful for boys and girls to relate through activities that simulate potentially risky situations such as requests to share data or photos.
“On the anniversary of the 20th Safer Internet Daywe are proud to inaugurate the SmartBus project here in Italy” – said Wilson Wang, CEO of Huawei Italia. Threats related to the use of the network have become a problem that must be addressed with constant awareness work on the risks of the Internet. With this in mind, Huawei developed SmartBus to provide students aged 10-14 with the information they need on online safety, personal data protection and cyberbullying”.
According to a 2022 Ipsos-Changes Unipol survey, 30% of Italians do not perceive Cyber Risk as a danger, while 17% of citizens are unable to assess this risk and its consequences, highlighting little awareness and a lot of vulnerability . With regard to the adoption of measures to protect themselves from cyber risks, more than 1 Italian out of 2 tries to combat Cyber Risk by providing only the essential data and avoiding the sharing of photos, a very common practice among younger people who show a very low perception of risk related to the publication of own images on Social Networks.
The pitfalls present on the net for the very young are numerous. Also in 2022, the Postal and Communications Police and the Cybernetic Security Operations Centers recorded an increase in the number of subjects (people or websites) identified and referred for crimes connected to techno-mediated abuse against minors. In particular, online grooming mostly involved pre-adolescents (10-13 years). While the cases of cyberbullying, which decreased slightly, mainly concerned the 14-17 age group.
“Young people need concrete examples, a guide who can support them in a complicated and difficult world, attention and information. Young people are our future and we must help them not to be afraid of technology but rather to use it precisely to improve themselves. As parents we have a specific task to follow our children and to ensure that the tools they have in their hands are safe and a source of joy and not of danger or anxiety.” – said Andrea Tronzano, Councilor for Productive Activities Development, Piedmont Region.
“The SmartBus initiative fits exactly in this context, so that girls and boys become more aware of what is happening online, recognizing both the possibilities and the risks” – declared Carlotta Salerno, Councilor for Education, School Construction, Youth Policies, Suburbs and Urban Regeneration at the Municipality of Turin.
Under the motto #CYBERSICURIABORDO, the training offered by the SmartBus program will make male and female students capable of better discerning which online resources are appropriate for their age and more aware of the various protective measures to adopt to protect themselves online such as the use of antivirus software, updating devices, choosing strong passwords and configuring social networks to maximize data privacy. Schoolchildren will also learn to navigate online with the same caution they would use in real life and immediately report any inappropriate contact to a teacher or parent.
“We begin this journey with enthusiasm which once again offers us the extraordinary opportunity to be able to stand by the side of so many boys and girls, teachers and citizens to help them acquire adequate awareness of the use of digital tools. A special occasion that allows us to bring the 10 principles of the Non-Hostile Communication Manifesto around Italy, with the hope that many other regions can also be reached next year” – said Rosy Russo, President of the Parole O_Stili Association.
The SmartBus, which will stop in each city for three days, is not aimed exclusively at students but is ready to welcome every afternoon also all citizens who wish to improve their knowledge on cybersecurity, privacy and the use of digital tools, starting with a test to be carried out directly on board the bus to verify their level.
“It is essential to promote an educational alliance, which sees the public, private and third sectors involved in promoting, primarily among young people, the positive and aware use of the web and digital tools” – declared Laura Di Raimondo, Director General of Asstel Assotelecomunicazioni.
The project is sponsored by the Regions of Piedmont, Lombardy, Tuscany, Lazio, Campania, by the Municipalities of Turin, Settimo Torinese, Novara, Bergamo, Cremona, Pisa, Caserta, Salerno, Naples, and by the ASSTEL trade association, with the technical partnership by FASTWEB, the Piedmont Innova Foundation, SpazioUau, G2EVENTI and EventRent.
The stages on Huawei SmartBus:
- Piedmont: 6-9 February in Turin, 10, 13 and 14 February in Settimo Torinese, 15-17 February in Novara;
- Lombardia: 22-24 February in Bergamo, from 28 February to 2 March in Brescia, from 7 to 9 March in Cremona;
- Tuscany: 14-16 March in Pisa, 21-23 March in Livorno, 27-29 March in Grosseto;
- Lazio: 3-5 April in Viterbo, 12-14 April in Latina, 18-20 April in Frosinone;
- Campania: 26-28 April in Caserta, 3-5 May in Salerno, 9-12 May in Naples.
The “SmartBus” project launched in Europe in 2019 is part of TECH4ALL, Huawei’s global program that places technology at the service of people and the environment with numerous projects carried out all over the world together with local and international organizations with the aim of promoting digital inclusion and nature conservation. Since its launch and until September 2022, SmartBus has visited more than 300 schools in 8 countries, including Spain, Portugal, Belgium and the Netherlands, involving over 65,000 students, parents and teachers.
For more information on Huawei SmartBus, please visit dedicated web page.